'Everybody's just people': Fernando Tatis Jr on helping fans after shooting

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Tatis Jr explains how he tried to help after shooting originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

There are times where star athletes can seem like superheroes the way they can dominate a game. On Saturday night when a shooting occurred just outside Nationals Park, San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. acted like a real superhero. 

Tatis and teammate Manny Machado ran into the stands to help usher family, friends and even unfamiliar fans into their third-base side dugout for shelter and protection after hearing gunshots in the middle of the sixth inning of the Nationals-San Diego game. Though the shooting happened outside the stadium, it was unclear in the chaotic aftermath where the gunfire came from. 

Tatis, 22, was back at the ballpark 12 hours later and shared his thoughts with reporters ahead of the resumption of the final three innings of Saturday's suspended game and then the scheduled Sunday series finale between the Nats and Padres.

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“The situation changed immediately,” Tatis told media right outside the same dugout he ushered people into on Saturday night. “There’s no longer players, fans. Everybody’s just people, just human beings out there.”

Nationals manager Davey Martinez shared a similar message during his Sunday morning media availability, an emotional press conference in which he stated his love for the city of D.C. and reiterated the assurance of safety inside the ballpark. 

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“For me, they're family. They're our fans,” Martinez said early Sunday. “They sweat just like the players do, just like I do. They're here for us. A lot of these people I’ve seen before, that came through. They sit above our dugout so, like I said, I just wanted to make sure everybody was safe. It was a reactionary thing.”

Following the Nationals' 10-4 delayed loss to the Padres, veteran Ryan Zimmerman addressed how quickly his switch flipped from being a baseball player to just a human being in a concerning time. 

"Yeah I think it was the same for everyone, the fans and everyone. Nobody ever wants to be around something like that or have it happen," Zimmerman said. "My family was not at the game last night, but a lot of the guys' families were at the game, or people and fans' whose sons or daughters were at the game, husbands and wives were at the game, obviously it's not a good feeling. Yeah I think you switch pretty quick to just not worrying about the game and worrying about people."